Making Instant Pot Chicken Breast is quick and easy if you have the right recipe. Plus it comes out juicy and tender every single time, making it a family favorite dinner choice for busy nights.
Whether it’s for an entrée or to add to another recipe, pressure cooking chicken breast takes a fraction of the time compared to any other method.
You can also season them any way you like too, so they pair well with any cuisine. And you can make whole or shredded chicken, making this recipe even more versatile.
The best part is that the chicken cooks so quickly that it’s easy to make a batch at the beginning of the week. Then you have a tasty protein source to make meal prep easier for the week.
- By the Numbers: How to Make Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- 1. What if my chicken breasts are larger or smaller?
- 2. What about bone-in chicken breasts?
- 3. How to avoid tough chicken breasts?
- 4. Can you pressure cook frozen chicken breasts?
- 5. To rack or not to rack?
- 6. More chicken seasoning ideas.
- 7. What other cooking liquids add flavor?
- 8. What temperature should chicken be cooked to?
- 9. How to make shredded chicken?
- 10. Ways to use chicken breast?
- 11. How to store cooked chicken breast?
- 12. Can you freeze cooked chicken breast?
- 13. Do chicken thighs have the same cook time?
- 14. Best side dish ideas?
- 15. More Instant Pot chicken breast recipes?
- 16. Tips to simplify weekly meal prep.
- Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe
- More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Steamer Rack
- Cutting board
By the Numbers: How to Make Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Breast
Follow these simple steps to learn how to make the best recipe for chicken breast in the Instant Pot.
Step 1: Season Chicken Breasts.
Place 4 fresh chicken breasts into a mixing bowl, then season them with 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning or 4 teaspoons of the spices of your choice. Be sure to get the chicken breasts evenly coated on all sides.
Step 2: Add Steamer Rack and Water to Instant Pot.
Place your steamer rack or basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot inner pan, then add 1 cup of water (if using a 6-quart model). If you’re using an 8-quart model, add 1 ½ cups of water.
Step 3: Add Chicken to Instant Pot.
Add boneless chicken breasts in a single layer to the Steamer Rack or Steamer Basket, making sure it’s up out of the water.
Step 4: Pressure Cook Chicken.
Close the lid and make sure the pressure release valve in in the closed, sealing position. Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes.
When the cook time is up, allow for a complete natural pressure release before removing the lid, which should take about 7 minutes. If you use a quick pressure release, the chicken may be tougher.
Step 5: Serve Chicken Breast.
Serve your tender pressure cooker chicken breast with your favorite side dishes.
Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
Answers to all of your questions about cooking chicken breast in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.
1. What if my chicken breasts are larger or smaller?
Cook time will depend on the size of the individual breasts. In this recipe, we used 6-ounce fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts.
If you’re using larger breasts, add a few minutes to the cooking time. For smaller chicken breasts, shorten the cook time by one minute.
2. What about bone-in chicken breasts?
If you don’t have boneless breasts, you’ll need to double the cook time. Bone-in chicken takes longer to come to temperature around the areas of bone, so it doesn’t cook as quickly as boneless.
3. How to avoid tough chicken breasts?
It’s a good idea to brine your breasts for 24 hours by putting them in the refrigerator in a covered bowl with ¼ cup of sea salt dissolved in water. Before cooking the breasts, rinse them off under cold water then pat dry. Brining your breasts in salted water will make them taste amazing and it will help tenderize them.
If brining your breasts doesn’t make them tender enough, you can always get a mallet out and beat them until they’re tender. Sprinkling a small amount of salt over the breast while you’re beating them can help act as a meat tenderizer.
4. Can you pressure cook frozen chicken breasts?
I personally prefer to use fresh or thawed chicken for consistent flavor and texture. However, you can also cook frozen breasts in an Instant Pot. The only difference is you’ll need to double the cook time.
The pot will take longer to come to pressure as well, so cooking from frozen takes longer than cooking from thawed. But if you forgot to take chicken out of the freezer, it’s no problem because it can go straight from the freezer to the Instant Pot.
5. To rack or not to rack?
There is a lot of debate online about whether you should put chicken breasts on a rack or cook them directly in the pot. I personally cook mine on a rack.
Some people prefer how chicken breasts come out when they’re cooked directly in the liquid in the Instant Pot pan. They will get a more direct heat from the pot that way, so you want to make sure you have enough liquid to almost cover the breasts if you want to try pressure cooking them without a rack.
6. More chicken seasoning ideas.
I have been creating seasoning recipes for years, and most of them are absolutely amazing on chicken. Try using 4 teaspoons of one of my favorite spice mixes instead of the blend listed in the recipe:
- Cajun Seasoning
- Paprika Chicken Seasoning
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- Ranch Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- Onion Soup Mix
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Poultry Seasoning
7. What other cooking liquids add flavor?
You need 1 full cup of water or liquid for a 6-quart Instant Pot, or 1 ½ cups water or liquid for an 8-quart Instant Pot. If you skip this step, you’re more likely to end up with a burn warning.
To experiment with new flavors, try one of these cooking liquids in place of water for a more flavorful chicken breast:
- Chicken stock (get my chicken stock recipe)
- Pineapple juice
- Apple juice
- Half soy sauce, half water
- Half lemon juice, half water
- Half chicken broth, half barbecue sauce (plus more BBQ sauce for topping after cooking)
8. What temperature should chicken be cooked to?
Chicken breasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165˚ F when checked with a meat thermometer. I personally like using a digital thermometer because they give you an instant read.
9. How to make shredded chicken?
If you plan to shred your chicken, I recommend choosing one of the more flavorful liquids above instead of water.
When cooking is done, remove the steamer rack and shred the chicken breast in the liquid. It will soak up the moisture and the flavors to help keep it tender.
If there is too much liquid left in the pot after cooking, you can transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board to shred them. Then you can add it back to the pot with as much of the liquid as needed to keep the shredded meat moist.
10. Ways to use chicken breast?
There are so many easy chicken recipes that use pre-cooked chicken. Here are some of my favorites.
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Gluten Free Bread
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chicken
- Chicken Verde Chilaquiles Breakfast Casserole
- Chicken Tacos with Blue Corn Tortillas
11. How to store cooked chicken breast?
Leftover chicken should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for no more than 3-4 days. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
12. Can you freeze cooked chicken breast?
Yes, according to the USDA, prepared chicken can be frozen in freezer safe containers or airtight bags for up to 4 months for best flavor and texture.
13. Do chicken thighs have the same cook time?
If you want to cook boneless chicken thighs in your Instant Pot, you can use this same cooking method and recipe. For bone-in thighs, double the cook time.
14. Best side dish ideas?
If you want to serve these chicken breasts as a main dish, some of my favorite sides are:
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Jasmine Rice
- Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
- Oven Roasted Baby Bok Choy
15. More Instant Pot chicken breast recipes?
Pressure cooking chicken breasts is my favorite way to prepare them because it’s so versatile. Try some of these other great Instant Pot chicken recipes:
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Jambalaya
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Crack Chicken
16. Tips to simplify weekly meal prep.
Simplifying meal prep can make life so much easier for busy moms. I like to plan my meals each month with a Printable Meal Planner. In addition to knowing what we’re eating every night, grocery shopping is so much easier too.
That said, I also do a lot of grocery shopping online so I don’t make impulse purchases at the store that throw off my meal plan. I do most of my online grocery shopping with Misfits Market because I get to save food from the landfills. If they’re not available in your area yet, check out my lists of the best places to grocery shop online for Meat, Produce and Seafood.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Instant Pot Steamer Rack
- Season the chicken breasts evenly on all sides with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and Italian Seasoning.
- Put steamer rack and 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot for a 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Lay chicken breasts in a single layer on the steamer rack.
- Close the lid and put the valve in the sealing position. Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes with a complete natural pressure release.
- Serve your juicy Instant Pot Chicken breast with your favorite side dishes.